Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A dissenting voice

The Church of England Still Won't Allow Female Bishops: Good for Them!

If you plan not to read the article, here's a picture of the gyno-episcopacy crowd:

Really, can any argument overcome this image? Welcome to contemporary England.

There are still rear-guard traditionalists in the CofE, but they don't usually get published in
The Atlantic. And a woman, no less. What was once a fine magazine --it's where I learned about Camp of the Saints and first read Robert Kaplan-- is now just one more bien-pensant mouthpiece of The Established Church of Liberalism.
The argument from these leading cultural figures seems to be "get with the times." Indeed, the authority of the times could not be clearer: Gender doesn't matter, all people are equally capable of performing all duties and sexism is a cardinal sin.

Wanting to overturn a 2000 year old tradition
on the basis of a 10-minute old slogan:
reveals the theological depth of the combatants

The comments after the article reveal the impossibility of discussion between sides.

One common conservative mistake Ms. Hemingway makes is to dichotomize the feminist desire for power and the Christian doctrine of ordination as service. No one buys this. In traditional Christology, Jesus is Priest, King and Prophet, a three-fold office by which he, and his successors in the Apostolate and the priesthood, sanctify, govern and teach. Ordination in churches is absolutely about power. As it should be. (Otherwise feminists would be absolutely uninterested in it.) And traditionalists should stop apologizing for it.

As I pointed out in a reflection on Christ's footwashing at the Last Supper, in St John's Gospel, the only reason why his humble gesture was worth noting is because he was The Boss. Or in his words "your Lord and Master."
He did perform a task for his disciples that was beneath him. But it was only because it was beneath him that it was noteworthy. And it was not an act of submission to them; on the contrary, it only strengthened his position as Lord and Master. 
When a scandalized Peter refused to accept this confusing gesture, Jesus did not sympathize, empathize, identify with or enter into dialogue with him; He made it authoritatively and magisterially clear to him: Take part or get out. (Jn 13.8)

Whoever was cooking and serving and cleaning up at that meal is never mentioned in the Gospels, because that is just their job. Nothing unusual at all. It's only because someone with power enacts a humbler role that this kind of service is un-banal. And so the "service" of bishops, priests and deacons --and of The Servant of the Servants of God, the Roman Pope-- is utterly dependent on their hierarchical status and sacral power. Stop making believe. Feminists are honest about being power-hungry. Traditionalists ought be equally honest in wanting to keep them from it.

Perhaps the notions of feminism have so utterly infected the Western mind that even traditionalists cannot get themselves to say that female power structures are inherently destructive of hierarchy*. Advocates for women's ordination are, individual women aside, nothing but bearers and carriers of feminism. They make this a slight against "women", but it is a rejection of the ideology that these women have melded themselves with. And in the Christian case, are always concomitant with or prelude to other significant dismantlings of orthodox belief and practice.

This is a very rear-guard action, by the way. It only postpones the inevitable. Once you ordain a woman priest there is no theological ground for refusing the episcopacy. It is only because a segment of the CofE rejects women priests as well that they reject women bishops. The ante is upped with bishops because they transmit Apostolic Succession. (Neither Catholicism nor Orthodoxy recognizes Anglican ordination as Apostolic, but of course, in house, it's a big deal.)

What I also note in media reports is that while it was the House of the Laity which resisted this move, against the Bishops and Priests, no one is pitching this as The Voice of the People against the Corrupt Hierarchy. Amazing, eh? Cause this time, The People are on the wrong side of liberal orthodoxy. They're probably the Brit equivalent of those xenophobic White folks Obama told us about, clinging to guns and God.

*This does not mean that they actually lead to egalitarian structures based on affiliation, but that they use hierarchies to break down and destroy any centers of male power, or indeed, any kind of traditional power that resists their Enlightenment. Ask the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina about how much "service" they get from Katherine Jefferts-Shori. Feminism is no more egalitarian than Communism. Instead of the dictatorship of the proletariat, you get the dictatorship of the gynocrats.

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